Lessons about recruitment: A Ferris wheel owner’s experience

Sep 21, 2020 | The Employee Journey

Lessons about recruitment

Imagine for a minute that you make a living by owning and running a Ferris wheel at a fairground…

Like all visitors to the fairground, when they first arrive, potential recruits are looking to find out more about why they should ride your ride. They’re scoping it out, sussing out if it’s what they’re looking for. Assessing what those currently on the ride are thinking and feeling, how they’re behaving. They’re imagining what it would be like if they were on the ride. Would they enjoy it? Do they meet the joining criteria? Does it offer what they’re looking for?

And this is all before they’ve made their intentions known and joined the queue!

Once in the queue, your job’s not done. Even at this stage, there’s still a chance they’ll never board your ride. They may see another ride that takes their fancy more. They may get bored waiting.They may not like what they see up close.

As they queue, they’re looking for some signs from you. How long do they have to wait? What’s the process? How many other people are in the queue? What’s going to happen between now and getting on?

They’re closer to you now and they’re watching. They can see how you interact with the riders, whether it matches what they expected from afar. What kind of ride are you really running? Are the riders really as satisfied as they looked? Is this definitely the ride for them?

There isn’t space for everyone in the queue to join your ride at one. But some lucky recruit(s) will make it. They will be selected to join. Follow their journey to the onboarding stage >>

That’s a great story but… how does this apply to my business?

In the business world, recruiting for new roles isn’t really much different, the stages are the same:

Step 1. Candidates enter the job market (fairground) looking for their ideal role (ride)

Your aim is to create a job ad that:

  • Stands out from the crowd. Why should candidates choose your company rather than the others on offer? What do you offer that’s different? What are the benefits? What are the prospects?
  • Accurately reflects what you have on offer. What are the requirements for the role? What are the responsibilities? What will they get in return? What are the job specifics?
  • Provides social proof . Unlike those queuing in front of the Ferris wheel, potential candidates can’t readily see the experience of those already working with you unless you show them. Paint a picture about life in your organisation. What do existing employees think about the company/role? Any data to support this? Any awards? Testimonials?

Step 2. Candidates submit an application (approaches the start of the queue)

Your aim at this stage is to show gratitude and be respectful of their time

  • Thank them for their application and their interest in the company/role. Inform them of the process, what the next steps are and when they should expect to hear back from you.
  • Communicate clearly, respectfully and according to the timings you laid out initially. Don’t leave applicants in the dark. Treat everyone as you’d want to be treated yourself
  • Inform unsuccessful candidates that they have been unsuccessful – ideally giving them a reason why.
  • Welcome successful candidates to the next stage – the interview process

Step 3. Successful candidates join the interview process (move along the queue closer to the ride)

Your aim is to make a good impression and leave candidates with no doubt that this is the right company/role for them.

  • Continue to communicate clearly, respectfully and according to the timings you laid out initially.
  • Re-inform candidates what the interview process involves, who they might meet, the timescales.
  • Ensure candidates have, and know, everything they need in order to make the interview process successful for everyone involved.
  • Treat job interviews with the same respect you have for your own internal meetings – show up on time, be prepared, engage with the conversation and finish on time (or at least check if they have time to stay longer to continue any conversation)
  • Be aware that interviews are a two-way thing, candidates are assessing you, and your team, just as much as you are assessing them. Ensure you bring your best self to every interaction.
  • Treat anyone leaving the queue (whether through their choice or yours) with the same respect you show those still queuing. Remember just because it’s a ‘no’ now, doesn’t mean that will always be the case – don’t burn your bridges.
  • Provide unsuccessful candidates detailed feedback regarding why they weren’t successful this time. Make time for them. If appropriate, ask them to keep in touch and consider you in future. Wish them all the best and keep an eye on where they head next.

Step 4. The successful candidate is offered, and accepts, the job (gets to the front of the queue)

Your aim is to show your delight that they’ve chosen to come this far and make it clear that they are making the right decision

  • Remember that they have chosen you as much as you have chosen them. Show your gratitude that they see their future with you.
  • Work respectfully with them to agree on commercials and any job specifics. This is the first time they’ve worked ‘with’ you on something so make it a pleasant experience.
  • Make them feel welcome – think about who they have met so far, who they will be working with. Is it appropriate for the candidate to also receive welcoming messages from them?

In summary:

When recruiting, your job is to spot the best riders – the ones that meet the boarding criteria, that bring the right attributes and complement existing riders – and to ensure they have an enjoyable candidate experience from the minute they spot your Ferris wheel to the time they’re making themselves comfy in their cab.

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